Jacques Alexandre César Charles
– April 7
) was a French inventor, scientist, mathematician, and balloonist.
Charles was born in Beaugency-sur-Loire, and made the first flight of a hydrogen balloon on August 271783.This balloon was destroyed by terrified peasants when it landed outside of Paris. On December 1 1783, a mere ten days after the manned flight of the Montgolfier hot-air balloon, Charles with Ainé Roberts, ascended to a height of about 1,800 feet (550 m) in his balloon "La Charlière".
Montgolfier's principal scientific collaborator was M. Charles, ... who had been the first to propose the gas produced by vitriol instead of the burning, dampened straw and wood that he had used in earlier flights. Charles himself was also eager to ascend but had run into a firm veto from the King, who from the earliest reports had been observing the progress of the flights with keen attentiveness. Anxious about the perils of a maiden flight, the King had then proposed that two criminals be sent up in a basket, at which Charles and his colleagues became indignant.
He developed several useful inventions, including a valve to let hydrogen out of the balloon and other devices, such as the hydrometer
and reflecting goniometer
, and improved the Gravesand heliostat
and Fahrenheit's aerometer
. In addition he confirmed Benjamin Franklin
's electrical experiments.
Around 1787 he discovered Charles' Law
, which states that under constant pressure, an ideal gas
' volume is proportional to its absolute temperature. The volume of a gas at constant pressure increases linearly with the absolute temperature of the gas. The formula he created was V1
. His discovery anticipated Joseph Louis Gay-Lussac
's published law of the expansion of gases with heat of 1802.
Charles was elected to the Académie des Sciences
, in 1793, and subsequently became professor of physics at the Conservatoire des Arts et Métiers
. He was married to a creole
wife. He died in Paris
on April 71823